Football fans have short memories; that has evidently been clear in all facets of the wonderful sport. But some memories, the very hardcore ones stick forever. The humiliation suffered by the Ghana Black Stars at the Brazil 2014 World Cup is one of a kind. Going into the mundial as one of Afica’s finest, untold player indiscipline coupled with ridiculous administrative mess meant Ghana; Africa’s shining star bowed out of the tourney in humiliating fashion- as a world laughing stock leaving an indelible pain and grief on the hearts of millions of football fans in the country.
A pain seeming so much unforgettable was at best shown at the Baba Yara stadium when the Black Stars were booed by home fans as they were held to a one all drawn game by Uganda in a 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifier match.
The subsequent dismissal of head coach Akwasi Appiah was greeted by mixed feelings by the Ghanaian football community. Interesting revelations at the Justice Dzamefe Presidential Commission of Enquiry worsened the ever dwindling popularity of the senior national team.
It appears as if Ghanaians have lost interest in the nation’s number one sport and its telling all over as the domestic league has no signs whatsoever about its commencement; its January 2015 already. Legal tussle; that which could have been avoided all together, the main player here.Suddenly it appears the wonderful name earned by the Black Stars from its first World Cup participation in Germany is fast fading. No one seems to care anymore and it’s hard to begrudge such passionate football fans.
The Africa cup of Nations 2015 couldn’t have surfaced its head at any better moment. If any good thing can happen to the senior national team it should be this tournament to be staged in the Equatorial Guinea. The Black Stars of Ghana can win all love lost with an excellent performance at the AFCON. Excellent here, obviously not being semi-finalist or the beaten finalist who gave their all. After four AFCON success 1965, 1968, 1978 and 1982, Ghanaians have suffered silverware drought for three decades and being favourites will just not be good enough. Over the past three decades the Stars can be likened to the hitherto perennial underachievers of Spain or the golden generation of the Three Lions of England or even more so, the ever favourite Elephants of La Cote D’Ivoire.
An AFCON victory would be a perfect wine served to the die-hard Ghanaian fans given they least expect it.
The words of newly appointed Black Stars Management Committee George Afriyie; “ Am saying the team doesn’t even enjoy the massive support of the Ghanaians and for you to win a cup you need maximum support so AFCON 2015 [trophy] is not a realistic target” says it all about how expectations have fallen in the country. Drawn in the group of death, it is under these circumstances that victory at this year’s AFCON will bring back on board the scattered fans of the senior national team.
New Black Stars coach Avram Grant made his intent clear by overlooking the ‘three musketeers’- Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien and Kevin Prince Boateng. Given other very hot favourites by merit; the Desert Foxes of Algeria, the Elephants of La Cote D’Ivoire, and the Teranga Lions of Senegal, the Israeli gaffer will require more than an effort to clinch the continent’s most prized trophy.
It seems a pretty near impossible venture and a highly unexpected one but if the Ghana Black Stars could win the 30th edition of the AFCON, the ties that bind Ghanaians; the passion of football will surely resurrect with the flag of Ghana flying high.
Football fans have short memories, yes and truly so the agony of the Brazil World Cup fiasco should be long gone if skipper Asamoah Gyan is to lift the trophy come February 8th.